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No end in sight for Southern Cape blaze

A fire has been burning for 13 days in different parts of the Southern Cape.

A Working On Fire firefighter walks through a thick cloud of smoke while putting out a fire in George. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Firefighting efforts in the Garden Route will continue for the second week.

Fires have been burning for 13 days in different parts of the Southern Cape.

Eight people died in a blaze in Karatara near Knysna and dozens more are homeless.

The provincial Environmental Affairs Department’s James-Brent Styan says: “Some of the fire lines are mobbing toward Oudtshoorn and some are moving more east towards the Plettenberg Bay area, while some are moving more west toward Mossel Bay. It’s a very large area we have to cover.”

Meanwhile, about 400 people have been evacuated in areas along the Garden Route as raging fires continue.

The Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department says Jonkersberg, Noll and Kransbosch are the most affected areas. The wildfire has spread over 80,000 hectares following heavy wind on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille is in the Southern Cape amid ongoing Wildfires.

Zille, who'll be in George on Monday, says additional aerial support is being brought in from the Air Force.

“So, we’re bringing in the Black Hawk [helicopter] which is capable of a 3,000 litre water drop. Before people say why don’t we drop 3,000 litres of water when there’s a fire in Khayelitsha, we would kill many people with 3,000 litres of water. You can only drop that on fires in the mountains and we’re trying to stop the advance of that fire with those measures.”

Officials hope that the cooler weather will provide the respite needed in firefighting efforts.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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